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AP FACT CHECK: Trump says troops coming home; they're not

SeattlePI.com Monday, 21 October 2019 ()
WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Donald Trump describes it, the U.S. swooped into an intractable situation in the Middle East, achieved an agreement within hours that had eluded the world for years and delivered a "great day for civilization."

It was a mission-accomplished moment that other Republican leaders, Democrats and much of the world found unconvincing.

Trump spent much of the past week trying to justify his decision to pull U.S. troops away from America's Kurdish allies in Syria, leaving those Kurdish fighters vulnerable on several fronts and already reeling from attacks by Turkish forces.

In the process, Trump exaggerated the scope of a deal bringing a temporary cease-fire to Turkish-Kurdish hostilities, falsely suggested U.S. troops in Syria will come home, and mischaracterized the history of the conflict and even the geography of it.

A look at his rhetoric on that topic and other subjects over the past week as well as a sampling of statements from the latest Democratic presidential debate:

SYRIA

TRUMP: "It's time to bring our soldiers back home." — news conference Wednesday.

THE FACTS: That's not what he's doing.

While the U.S. has begun what the Pentagon calls a deliberate withdrawal of troops from Syria, Trump himself has said that the 200 to 300 U.S. service members deployed to a southern Syria outpost in Al-Tanf will remain there.

And on Saturday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the current plan calls for all U.S. troops who are leaving Syria to go to western Iraq, not home. They number more than 700.

Asked Sunday why troops weren't coming home as Trump said they would, his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said: "Well, they will eventually."

___

TRUMP: "This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me...
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Credit: Reuters - Politics - Published < > Embed
News video: U.S. troops leave Syria, cross into Iraq

U.S. troops leave Syria, cross into Iraq 01:40

U.S. troops crossed into Iraq early on Monday, part of a withdrawal from northeastern Syria ordered by President Donald Trump that opened the way for Turkish troops to launch an offensive against Kurdish fighters in the area. Francesca Lynagh reports.

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